Thursday, March 8, 2018

Modular Shipyard

I've been working on a set of ships for Galleys and Galleons.  I'm thinking about doing a naval campaign and would need a variety of ships in different sizes/capabilities.  The following ships are made from the same pieces, but arranged in different ways to create a variety of ships.  I know that these are not remotely precise models, but they print relatively easily on my 3D printer and don't require much effort to paint. 
This shows just how different looking the ships can be, even though they're made of the same parts.  The small ship is 40% of the length of the large one.

This "galleon style" ship might be used to represent large ships. The number of cannons can be adjusted to represent a wider variety of ships. The green deck can be extended backwards or forwards to give each ship in the fleet a unique characteristic.   

This ship might be a small warship, a sloop, caravel, or other medium size ship as described in the Galleys and Galleons ruleset.  
I am in the process of designing triangular sails to allow them to be played as lateen rigged ships.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Smugglers Intercepted

I played a gridded-out game of Galleys and Galleons recently and thought I'd put it up here. 
Rule modifications are as follows.  Short, Medium, and Long distances are measured at 1,2, and 3 grids respectively. The rules have been modified so that galleys can move medium distance on their first move and short distance on any other moves.  The limit of two activations for movement has been removed.  Cannon fire is now limited to 1 Long + 1 Medium.  Collisions/Boarding happen in the grid of the passive ship, but both grids remain occupied and impassable. 
Please pardon the half/sloppily painted ships.  They're still work in progress and will be better next time.
A fleet of known smugglers is intercepted by the local king's navy.  The smugglers are on the defense.
Victory Conditions
A standard campaign battle between a merchant and predatory fleet from Galleys and Galleons.  The fleet scoring the most points wins. 
Order of Battle
King's Navy - 1x Boarding Galley, 2x Cannon Galley, 2x Ramming Galley (See "First Fleet" for details)
Smuggler's Fleet - 5x Caravel (Q3 C3 Merchantman, Razee) 1x Escort Caravel (Q3 C4 Merchantman, Trained Gun Crew, Master Gunner, Veteran NCOs)

The initial positions.

The smuggler's plan hinges on keeping the fleet together to minimize chaos and leave ships protected from attack on both sides.  The fleet will sail in rows until it can execute a turn and sail in columns to victory.

The King's Navy plans to use it's superior maneuverability to sit in the smuggler's path.  If they can disable the lead ships the following ships will likely collide causing devastating damage.

Chaos ensues
The King's navy was able to force surrender of the Escort Caravel. without it's most heavily armed ship, the weaker caravels should be easing pickings

A ramming ship has succumbed to repeated barrage by what's left of the line of caravels.  It sank just below the waves, still reaching out to damage ships sailing over its demise.  The engagement ended with the Escort Caravel captured, two escort caravels destroyed, one escort caravel captured, and one escaping the engagement, but straying off course.  The victorious galley fleet lost one ramming galley and the second was severely damaged.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Rules

Game Setup

Determine which player will play as attacker and defender.

Determine terrain - Defender chooses if no scenario

Attacker places ½ of force within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Defender places whole force within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Attacker places remaining ½ of force, within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Roll to determine which player will get the first move. 


Distances and measurements
Distances are measured in short (S), medium (M), and long (L).  Medium is equal to 2x short, and long is equal to 3x short.  It does not matter how long short is, as long as both players use the same distances. 


A player’s turn lasts until they either roll a turnover or activate all their units.

To activate a unit, roll up to three activation die.  An action is given for each die which is greater than or equal to the units quality. If a unit fails on two activations, the player has rolled a turnover.  That unit may execute a successful action, if applicable, but no other units may activate that turn.  



Colored dice are used to account for combat ability lost to casualties, decreasing morale, and/or desertion.  A unit starts with three white dice and exchanges them for colored damage dice as disorder increases.  When a unit has three colored dice and no white dice, it is crippled and has a -1 modifier on all combat rolls. 

When a unit is crippled and receives additional damage, it is removed from play. 



The core infantry unit is the regiment. Infantry regiments are divided into two battalions.  When deployed in line formation, infantry officers are positioned in the middle of their unit.  If the officer is in range of the enemy, the whole unit is in range.  Battalions cannot be separated from the regiment or merged into another regiment.  Disorder is measured at the regimental, not battalion level. 


Infantry Formations

Column: -2 Shooting, Turn one point free

Line: -2 Melee, -1 Movement

Square: No movement, -2 Shooting, +3 vs Cavalry in charge & melee



Cavalry is divided into regiments.  Regiments cannot be further divided or combined.  Cavalry is capable of changing formations so quickly that the regimental colonel can be trusted to put his troopers in the proper formation at the proper time.  Light and Heavy cavalry do not have ranged attacks.



Artillery batteries are capable of targeting units at long range, but their operators are not trained in hand-to-hand combat.  They are very vulnerable to cavalry charges.  Artillery cannot charge or recoil if engaged in melee. 

Artillery Formations
Artillery are either limbered or unlimbered.  Limbered artillery are capable of moving.  Unlimbered artillery must remain stationary.  Limbering or unlimbering artillery is treated the same as infantry changing formation. 



Move: 1 action. Units forward according to unit statistics.  Subject to terrain

Double time: 2 actions.  Move standard movement +1 short

Change formation: 1 action

Seize the Initiative: 2 actions, -1 for enemy in melee, includes closing with enemy

Recoil: 2 actions: Withdraw from melee and face unit previously engaged with. Infantry recoil 1S.  Cavalry recoil 1M.

Fire: 1 action

Aimed Shot: 2 actions, -1 for enemy in shooting

Limber/Unlimber Artillery: 2 actions, prepares artillery for fire/movement

Load Canister Short: 2 actions

Movement and Turning
Units move according to their speed.  Both players must use the same distances for short, medium, and long measurements.  Units may break their movement up, but must not exceed their total movement.  For example, an infantry unit may move 1S, pivot, and then move 1S.  It has then used three actions. 
Units may pivot around the center of the formation at a rate of 45 degrees per action spent.
Units may move forward at up to a 45 degree angle without changing facing. 

Range is the distance at which a weapon is effective in combat.  Range extends at a 45 degree angle form the front corner of a unit.  This represents the fact that the unit cannot target an enemy at a steep angle changing its facing or endangering its own members.

Line of Sight (LOS)
Only targets that can be seen can be hit.  In gridded games if more than half of the target grid is blocked from view, the whole grid is assumed to be outside of LOS.  If an infantry officer is in LOS while the unit is in line formation, the whole unit is also in LOS. Some terrain blocks LOS without providing cover.  LOS is mutual. Therefore, if unit A has LOS to unit B, unit B has LOS to unit A. 

Melee Attacks

Charges happen on first meeting of units.  Unless one unit recoils or retreats units remain locked in melee and will continue to fight until one unit withdraws or is killed.  If a unit starts its turn in melee combat no actions are required to continue combat.  Existing melees are fought even after a turnover has been rolled.


Attacking unit enters same tile as / comes into contact with defending unit. Both units roll, add Melee Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender > double attacker; 1 disorder to attacker and recoils 1 short

If defender ≥ attacker, but not double; 1 disorder to attacker if defender rolled even.

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even.

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to unit uphill of opponent

+1 to attacker if Infantry and charging

+2 to attacker if Cavalry and charging

-1 to target if flanked

-2 to target if attacked from rear


Musketry Attacks

Assume that standard muskets have max range of 1L.  They become increasingly ineffectual at range.

Ensure LOS and range, Both units roll, add Shooting Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender ≥ attacker; volley missed

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to firing unit if target at short range

-1 to firing unit if target at long range

+1 to target if in light cover

+2 to target if in heavy cover


Bombardment Attacks

Assume standard cannons have a max range of 3M.  Short range is within 1M to target.  At this range, canister shot can be used. If canister shot is used all increases to disorder result in critical event roll.

Ensure LOS and range, Both units roll, add Shooting Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender ≥ attacker; volley missed

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to firing unit if target at 0M – M range

-1 to firing unit if target at 2M – 3M range

+1 to target if in heavy cover



If a 1 is rolled on a colored die, a blunder occurs.  Roll on the following table to determine result.


1 – Garbled Orders, Reroll one of the successful activation dice.  Keep result.

2 – Hesitation, Unit forfeits all successful orders but does not cause turnover.

3 – Forward, Unit moves forward at its full movement rate.

4 – Fall Back! Unit moves its full movement rate in the opposite direction, but retains facing

5 – Charge! If an enemy unit is within 1M, use first action to charge nearest enemy unit.

6 – Fire!  Unit uses first action to fire on nearest unit in range, enemy or friendly. 


Critical Event Table

Roll 2 D6. 

2-3: Officer Killed! From this turn forward, the unit is unable to be ordered by the general.  It can only be activated singly.

4: Broken Line! Unit must spend next activation reforming its lines.  Until lines are reformed it receives no modifiers due to formation.    

5: Petrified! Unit may not be activated next turn.

6-8: Devastating Volley! Unit recoils one short

9: Panic!  Unit suffers one DIS

10: Wavering!  The unit gains the wavering special rule, and is unable to rally if it has 3DIS

11-12: Rout!  From this turn forward, unit will automatically turn and move towards its original deployment zone.  Routing can only be stopped by rolling three successful activations.

Basic Units
Units have the following statistics; Quality, Speed, Melee Combat, and Ranged Combat. If applicable they also have range according to their weapon type. 

Special Rules
Special rules can be added to give units additional flavor and differentiate between unit types. 

In the near future I will work to outline basic units and the special rules I believe should accompany them.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hex Grid Failure

If you've read some previous posts, you'll remember that I was trying to make a hexagon gridded surface.  After several hours of researching fabrics and paints, and cutting and taping freezer paper, I finally got to the moment of truth.  As the title of this posts suggests, it was a failure. 
The spray primer absorbed into the duck cloth, so instead of nice clean lines, I got blobby messes.  The freezer paper started peeling up as soon as it got wet, which made the blobs worse. I let it dry and tried to play a game on it. 
Besides being ugly, gridding Galleys and Galleons didn't work well for me.  In order to get the longer ships I'd designed to fit in one hex, they had to be 3 inches between parallel sides.  Having such large hexes made it easy for collisions and boarding actions because both ships could occupy the same tile.  The 3" grids essentially shrunk the playable surface of the game.  Suddenly ships firing at 2x long range could reach half of the map.  Having the grids did make wind direction very easy.  There is no discrepancy about what setting the sails should be at, or if an enemy ship is in range. 
In order to get the playing surface to a manageable size, I'd have to shrink down the hexes to 2".  This would present two options; either reduce the size of the models, or have a single model occupy multiple hexes. I haven't had time to think out all the problems of having a unit occupy multiple hexes, but I do know that reducing the models by 50% will certainly reduce the likelihood that I ever paint them.
Spray painting on duck cloth might work for some, but I won't be trying it again.  I might try using my wife's Cricut to cut iron on vinyl.  The lines would be very clean, but it took 12 sheets of cutting to make the spray painting stencil, and that much vinyl would get expensive.  The goal was to make it functional without being real expensive. By the time I buy new cloth and 12 sheets of vinyl, it's approaching the cost of a vinyl gaming mat. 
Now accepting ideas for a 36x54 piece of navy blue duck cloth with gray blobs all over it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Fleet

The first fleet is finally printed and painted.  They are not much use in historical actions, on account of the comically larger than life cannons in the bow.  The fleet will likely fight sailed fleets with broadside guns.  They are designed for use with the Galleys and Galleons rules by Ganesha Games. It has been in a few games and performed well.
 The whole fleet assembled in echelon.

Boarding Galley: 48 pts Q3 C3 Galley, Swashbucklers, Drilled Soldiers, Yare
There is one boarding galley in the  fleet.  It is specialized towards closing with enemy ships and fighting boarding actions. On the first boarding action after grappling it starts with +6 before the die is rolled. 

 Cannon Galley: 48 pts Q3 C4 Galley, Master Gunner, Trained Gun Crew, Sluggish
 The fleet has two cannon galleys.  Although well suited for boarding actions, the cannon galley's primary purpose is to stay back and pound enemy ships into submission while the ramming and boarding galleys close for melee.
The Ramming Galley: 28 pts Q2 C1 Galley, Ramming, Reinforced Hull, Skilled Oarsmen, Derring-Do, Unarmed
Te ramming galley is the smallest ship in the fleet.  It is optimized for using itself as a weapon.  The bow cannons have been removed to increase the ship's top speed. The galley's ram is functional unlike the rams on the other ships in the fleet.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Some Games Played

While my college friend was in town for a business trip we played a few games of Galleys and Galleons.  We played a quick intro game one night with one ship per side, a galley and a pirate junk.  We missed some key rules, but he decided that it was worth playing again.  He sent me a 200 pt. fleet, which I designed and 3D printed.  His fleet featured several creatures, while mine was comprised entirely of galleys.  Over then next few days we played most of the scenarios.  There seemed to be a fair balance between designing a fleet, making decisions on the table, and lucky dice rolls.  I seemed to make a lot of bad dice rolls, with several of my galleys surrendering before inflicting much damage.  In the "Treasure Island" scenario none of my explorers found treasure, and two of the crews were "invited for dinner".  His explorers discovered two treasures.  They ended up being fun, but the coffee table we played on was a bit cramped.
The gridding project has also made progress.  The wife and I went to a fabric store and purchased a 3' length of duck cloth (heavy canvas).  She designed a hexagon grid stencil which was cut out on her Cricut.  The next step is to tape all the stencils together, lay them over the fabric, and spray paint the grid.  Hopefully, this will be accomplished soon. 
My galley fleet is in the process of being painted.  The hulls and superstructure are red, while the oars and rams are yellow.  Being styled after ancient galleys, they all have eyes which will be painted white with black pupil.  My friend's fleet is probably too eccentric to have much reuse value, but my wife has claimed the monster shark for her yet-to-be-designed fleet.  Her fleet will be pirate themed and feature mostly square rigged vessels. I'm also designing other fleets to play with which will likely include; a merchant fleet, a "Royal Navy" of large battleships, a "Swedish Archipelago" fleet of galleys, and hopefully a Viking themed dragon fleet.  None of these fleets will pay much attention to being properly historical.  The initial intent is to contrive a world in which they would all interact with each other. 
Now that I write this all down, it seems like I have a lot of plans.  Hopefully they all come to fruition. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Sudden Change In Direction

This blog may be rapidly changing directions.  I was getting a little tired of trying invent rules that I could play solo or with a friend, especially when the wife isn't interested in military history.  The blog won't be going away, but it won't be predominately Napoleonic anymore.
While re-watching Pirates of the Caribbean, I asked my wife if she'd be interested in a game where she controlled a few pirate ships.  She seemed somewhat interested so I went looking for a simple naval ruleset.  I found Galleys and Galleons a few days later.  Since then, I have been designing my own ship models, in the same clean, simple, cartoonish style as my Napoleonic model ranges. 
I have played a few test games with a buddy and enjoyed them, but think I might adapt the rules to hex grids to make the game less tedious for my wife.  It should be relatively easy since the ranges are almost perfect multiples of the short range. 
My goals of a cheap and compact wargame remain unchanged, but the focus will likely shift from Napoleonic to Naval Piracy.  The level of concern for historical accuracy will also likely diminish.  Our fleets may be more galley heavy than historically accurate.  My proposed fleet even has a few bireme style ramming galleys without cannons. 
In conclusion, I still intend to post updates here, but the Napoleonic project has been pushed to the back-burner for the foreseeable future.